Colorful Landscapes in the Heart of the Rocky Mountains
July 1 – 7, 2024
The San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado contain some of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains. Picturesque off-road trails lead into the alpine tundra and snow-capped 13,000 to 14,000 ft mountains surrounding the area. July is peak time in the San Juans for wildflowers—Colorado columbine, lupine, fireweed, Indian paintbrush—and these will provide a compelling accent to clear streams, rolling meadows, and rugged mountain peaks. We will use all-access 4WD jeeps to get where we want to go, but you’ll also need to bring your hiking boots! Short scenic hikes will take us to some lesser-known meadows and views. We will also photograph historic mining villages and abandoned structures. All of this makes for excellent subject matter during the day, and if the skies are clear, we will also photograph at night.
We will ensure everyone has a safe, enriching, and fun learning experience. Special techniques we will cover include focus stacking, shutter speed blending, and lighting scenes at night. Mornings, late afternoons, and nights will find us in the field. During the day, back in town, we will hold image reviews and learn new post-processing skills while working on the images we have captured.
We will be staying in the historic Imperial Grand Hotel, constructed in 1883, in the lively mountain town of Silverton, Colorado. Silverton is located in Southwestern Colorado. It is an outdoors lover’s paradise over 9,300 feet above sea level. Surrounded by mountain peaks and situated on the Million Dollar Highway, it is always bustling with adventurers and thrill-seekers.
We’ll stay at our outfitted camp in the high alpine setting at 11,800 feet for two nights. The camp is fully-outfitted, including stand-up tents, cots, sleeping bags, blankets, and hot meals.
This workshop requires that you are capable of reaching an altitude of over 12,000 feet. We will be camping in tents at this altitude, so you should spend a night or two acclimating in Colorado somewhere at an altitude of 7-8,000 feet before the beginning of the workshop. Please get in touch with us for ideas of where to visit before the workshop.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
July 1–4, 2024: Meet at 3:00 PM inside the Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton, Colorado. We’ll have an early dinner tonight, where we’ll brief you on how to prepare for our first evening shoot. We will leave Silverton and head up the canyon searching for wildflowers and high mountain peaks. If the weather cooperates, we will stay out late and shoot into the night—this time of year is ideal for capturing the galactic center of the Milky Way!
We spend the first three nights at our hotel, venturing into the mountains to photograph wildflowers and night skies. We’ll hold several image reviews and teach Lightroom and Photoshop techniques.
If you’re flying into Durango, please contact us regarding available shuttle service or consider taking the Durango Silverton Railroad.
July 4–6, 2024: We’ll head up in our jeeps this morning to our outfitted alpine camp. Camp is at 11,850 feet in altitude and contains one large dinner tent, four large double tents tall enough to stand in, cots, pads, and sleeping bags. We’ll have time to settle into our tents and enjoy some hot food. Our time will be filled with photography, and we’ll work to find intimate photographs and grand vistas. Our nights will involve learning lighting techniques for abandoned mining camp buildings with the stars as a backdrop. Of course, we will photograph the incredible snow-capped mountain peaks with the Milky Way behind them!
There will occasionally be short hikes up to two miles from the jeeps, but nothing too steep or rugged. We will take our time but be advised we’ll be at a high elevation (up to 13,000 feet). Acclimation before the workshop may be necessary for some participants traveling from homes near sea level.
July 6, 2024: After returning from our alpine camp, we’ll enjoy the comfortable Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton. We’ll have time to post-process our images of the Rocky Mountains. After some time spent reviewing and processing, and if conditions are good, we’ll photograph late light and possibly more stars.
July 7, 2024: After breakfast, we will have a last image review session to enjoy the fantastic images we captured throughout the week. The workshop concludes at noon, after which you can return to local airports and home. We will help you arrange a ride. Just let us know.
Camping in a high alpine location
You will stay in the historic town of Silverton, Colorado, for several nights. But you will also spend two nights in tents at 11,800 feet. The camp is fully outfitted with tents, cots, pads, and sleeping bags. You will share a tent with another person, but the tents are large enough to stand in and have sufficient space for two cots. There is a gear vestibule that makes a lovely porch as well. It's best to be prepared for this altitude. If you do not know how you handle the altitude, or even if you do, it's best to arrive in Durango a few days early and spend some time at 8,000 feet. There are plenty of places to visit in this area, and we are more than happy to recommend some sights.
Moderate: You should be able to do short hikes up to two miles in an alpine environment at elevations up to 13,000 feet.
Arrive Durango–La Plata County Airport (DRO), Durango, Colorado before 10:00 AM on July 1, 2024. Flights out can be made after 6:00 PM on July 7, 2024. Air travel delays are common. Please arrive early, possibly even the day prior, so you don’t miss any of the workshop.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $600 supplement. (For hotels only.)
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop.
- All permits and park fees.
- All transportation during the workshop.
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides.
- Camp bedding: cot, sheet and sleeping bag
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros.
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction.
- Travel to and from Silverton Colorado.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic Beverages.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for$600 supplement. (For hotels only.)
“In the field Wayne worked closely with everyone to ensure they met their personal goals, tried different techniques and enjoyed each and every moment. It truly felt like a "workshop" with an outstanding leader who deeply cared about the needs and aspirations of all the participants. ”
“This location was spectacular. The word beautiful isn't strong enough. And the food! Who would expect steaks on a camping trip? You need to keep those guys...they were great. ”